A group of British Internet users are suing Google for bypassing security settings on the Safari web browser to track their online browsing habits in order to send them targeted advertising.
According to the claim, the group called Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking is arguing that Google should face justice in the United Kingdom and not in the United States, as the Internet giant wants.
“Google is very much here in the UK. It has a UK specific site. It has staff here. It sells adverts here. It makes money here. It is ludicrous for it to claim that, despite all of this very commercial activity, it won’t answer to our courts,” said Judith Vidal-Hall, one of the claimants.
This isn’t the first time Google has troubles because of this particular issue. In August last year, Google had to pay a fine of $22.5 million (€16.35 million) to the US Federal Trade Commission for violating its order that the company would not misrepresent the extent to which consumers could exercise control over the collection of their information.
Google didn’t plead guilty in the FTC case, saying instead that the tracking was accidental. However, recently, it has been announced that Google has agreed to pay another $17 million (€12.36) to settle charges that it has been tracking some consumers’ activities on the web even when such tracking has been blocked.
“British users have a right to privacy protected by English and European laws. Google may weave complex legal arguments about why the case should not be heard here, but it has a legal and moral duty to users on this side of the Atlantic not to abuse their wishes. Google must be held to account here, even though it would prefer to ignore England,” said Dan Tecnch, representative of the British claimants.
The case will appear before court on Monday, December 16.